What to do during your city break in London? These are 27 things you should add to your London bucket list!
27 fun things to do in London
What to do in London during a city trip? These are cool things to do and the best sights in London.
Take a look at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s palace. It is in a beautiful location between St. James’s Park and Green Park and it’s a very impressive building to check out. When the Queen is in the building, the royal standard (a red-yellow-blue flag) waves on the center pavilion.
Go for a walk along the Thames
The River Thames dominates the city of London. On the quays of this river, you will find some of the most famous London landmarks. For example, the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben, the Tate Modern museum, and the Tower of London. Short on time in London? Then walk along the Thames to spot all the beautiful sights.
See the crown jewels in the Tower of London
One of the most striking structures on the River Thames is the Tower of London. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and formerly served as a royal palace and prison. It is a popular tourist attraction, as you can see the crown jewels here.
Skip the line and get your tickets for the Tower of London in advance.
Visit the British Museum
Did you know that you can visit most major museums in London for free? That’s pretty awesome! If you can only visit one museum during your London city trip, I would recommend the British Museum. This is one of the most important museums in the world, with a huge collection of ancient works of art and artifacts. Some of the highlights: the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, and the Elgin Marbles.
Check out the best view in the London Eye
The London Eye is also a beautiful sight on the Thames. This is a huge Ferris wheel, near Big Ben. From the London Eye, you have a great view of the city.
Get your ticket for the London Eye.
Walk across the Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge is named after the Tower of London that’s right next to it. The bridge itself is also an icon and should not be missed in London. You can walk over it for a nice view of the river Thames, but you can also climb it for an even more beautiful view. You walk over a glass platform. Do you dare?
Buy your tickets for Tower Bridge.
Stroll through Shad Thames
Just next to Tower Bridge you will find a very cozy street: Shad Thames. Here you’ll see many old department stores that have been renovated. It is a really nice mix between old and new. You will find many cozy restaurants and museums here.
Visit St Paul’s Cathedral
One of the most beautiful churches in London is St Paul’s Cathedral. It all starts with the impressive grand staircases at the front. In addition, this cathedral has a large dome where you can have a whispered conversation with someone on the other side of the dome. The sound circulates through the curve of the dome, which makes it really clear. It’s so cool!
Buy your tickets for St Paul’s Cathedral.
Lover of modern art? Visit Tate Modern
There are so many awesome museums in London. Tate Modern (on the Thames) is the museum of modern art. You will be amazed by all the interesting artworks and objects. You can find works by Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol (the famous Marilyn Diptych), and Auguste Rodin, among others.
Walk across the Millennium Bridge VERWIJ
The Millennium Bridge is a beautiful modern pedestrian bridge over the Thames and the connection between Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral. From here you can take very Instagram-worthy pictures!
Have a beer in a pub
England and pubs are unconditionally linked. In London, you will find a lot of Pubs with typical English names such as The Kings Arms, The Beehive, and Red Lion. And of course, you’ll have to order a large pint while you’re there. A lovely place to take a break. By the way, you often find fun board games in these pubs, so you can have a great time here if you suffer from rain during your London city trip.
Pro tip: if you’d like to try some different beers and prefer some unusual or alternative things to do in London, you should definitely go for the Bermondsey Beer Mile. It’s a street filled with breweries!
Enjoy a theater show in the West End
Do you like theater or musicals? Then you must attend a show at the West End, this is the English answer to Broadway. In this street, you will find the most famous musicals and plays. Look for an overview of all performances and buying tickets on this website.
Visit Westminster Abbey
In addition to St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey is also worth a visit. This is where the coronations and funerals of the British royals take place. A number of prominent Britons are also buried here, such as Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawkin, and Isaac Newton. It is an impressive church to visit and it is recommended to use the audio tour, so you learn even more.
Buy your tickets for Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
Make a phone call from the iconic phone booth
Although almost everyone now carries a cellphone, you can still see some of these iconic red telephone boxes in London. How cool is it to call someone from such a payphone? Or just pretend to make a phone call and take a fun picture.
Check out Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Right next to Westminster Abbey you will find the famous clock Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. These are the Houses of Parliament and you can visit them on a guided tour (often combined with a visit to Westminster Abbey).
Discover platform 9 ¾
Attention to all the Harry Potter fans! In London, you can immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter. For example, at King’s Cross Station you can go to Platform 9 3/4 (you have to queue to take a picture, but it’s free of charge to visit).
Want even more Harry Potter? From London, you can go on a really cool Warner Bros. Studio Tour. You must reserve this tour in advance.
Take a cruise on the Thames
Not in the mood for a long walk? You can also opt for a beautiful cruise on the Thames. This way you can relax while you check out all the beautiful sights. You will also learn a bit more about the history of London since there’s usually a guide.
There are several variants: from a romantic evening cruise to a wild ride on a speedboat. Check this website for the possibilities.
Look for Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street
Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes? Then you should definitely take a look at Baker Street. Here you will find a statue of the famous detective, cozy pubs and a museum.
Tip: become Sherlock Holmes and discover even more fun places in London with this fun outdoor game.
Relax in Hyde Park and the Kensington Gardens
Do you want to take a break during your London city trip? Then go for a picnic in one of the beautiful parks. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are both huge (and right next to each other), so there’s always a nice spot to relax. In addition, there are also beautiful memorials and statues. Don’t feel like resting? Then Kensington Palace (the place where Prince William lives) is worth a visit.
Get your tickets to Kensington Palace.
Check out Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous squares in London, there is always something to do. In the center of the square stands the impressive 50-meter-high column with a statue of Horatio Nelson, who defeated a Napoleonic fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar.
See the paintings in the National Gallery
On Trafalgar Square is the famous National Gallery, a museum full of paintings. Here you can view paintings by the most famous painters of Western Europe. There are works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Leonardo Da Vinci and Sandro Boticelli.
Go shopping on Oxford Street
Did you know that London is a paradise if you like shopping? Whatever you need, you’ll find it on Oxford Street (see what I did there?). There are many shops and there is something for every budget.
Go to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a large concert hall right next to the Kensington Gardens. Here you can attend concerts by world-famous artists, from great orchestras to famous pop stars. If you’re in the mood for a fancy night out, this is the place to be.
Visit the Victoria & Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum (aka V&A) is one of the best-known museums in London. Here you will find a large collection of applied art, such as clothing and utensils. You can admire famous designer clothes here.
Take a walk in Notting Hill
The Notting Hill neighborhood became world-famous because of the movie of the same name with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Despite the fact that this charming neighborhood is now also very well known by tourists, there are many fun things to do in Notting Hill. So make sure to explore this area for at least a few hours. On Portobello Road you will find a nice market, beautiful houses, and fun street musicians.
Check out the changing of the guard
Almost daily, various special ceremonies take place around Buckingham Palace, all of which have to do with the changing of the guard. This happens in several places:
- Wellington Barracks: from here a group marches towards Buckingham Palace.
- Horse Guard Parade: This is where the Changing of the Guard takes place every morning around 11.
- Changing of the Guard: here you can watch a ceremony every other day.
It’s quite a spectacle to watch. You can never see them all at once, so take your pick and make sure you’re in the right spot between 10 am and 11 am. Get there early for the best view.
Visit Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is similar to Times Square in New York. Just like in Times Square, you will find large illuminated billboards here. There is also a beautiful fountain with a statue of the Greek god Anteros.
See dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum
The last museum on this London bucket list is the Natural History Museum. Here you will find everything about the history of nature and man. Very striking are the enormous skeletons of dinosaurs, very cool to see!
In my opinion, these are the best things to do in London. What would you add to your London bucket list?
Day trips from London
As you can see, there are many fun things to do in London. However, there are also many great places to visit in the greater London area.
These are some of the best day trips from London:
- Windsor Castle – One of the most famous castles in the United Kingdom.
- Oxford – Home to one of the most famous universities in the world. There are many fun things to do in Oxford like punting on the River Cherwell.
- Brighton – Visit the famous seaside resort fun a day at the beach.
Book a trip to London
Did you feel like a trip to London after reading this article? These are some handy websites to book your trip:
- You can easily book train tickets to London with Rail Europe.
- You can find the cheapest flights to London via Skyscanner or Momondo.
- The largest selection of awesome hotels, hostels, and other accommodations can be found via Booking.com.
- You can book a package holiday to London with Love Holidays.
- You can find some nice travel guides at Amazon.
- Buy The London Pass to get the most out of your city break.
Want to read more about London?
Get one of these travel guides to make your London city break even more fun:
Not For Tourists Guide to London
Explore more awesome cities in Europe
Would you like to discover more great cities in Europe? You might want to check out these articles:
- The best things to do in Bristol, UK
- 2 days in Vienna: itinerary & tips
- Travel guide Prague: tips & tricks for your first visit
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